So THAT’S Why Fat People are Ridiculed!

I ran across this article from The Independent today. This article addresses the age-old question of why fat folks are picked on as much as they are.

Now, being a fat child who became a fat woman, I had a very good idea as to why I was picked on: I was FAT, thereby being socially unacceptable, therefore becoming a target for those who fit society’s standards of normal. I mean, it makes sense to ME.

However, that’s just not true, according to this article.

Researchers say the immune system can be triggered into action at the sight of obesity because it doesn’t like the look of what it sees, and associates it with infection.
Just as it orchestrates attacks on viruses and bacteria and triggers nausea at the hint of bad food, so it sends out signals of disgust in some people at the sight of an obese body that is designed to encourage avoidance and survival.

So…what these researchers are saying is that I was/continue to be harassed not because being fat is socially unacceptable, but because they think…I’m infectious? And y’know, who wants to be around infectious people? But, you know, since obesity is contagious and all, I suppose it makes a bit more sense. Right…good answer, good answer!

Are you fucking kidding me? And if not, when can we expect the first vaccine for the folks who spew malignant jackassery towards fat people? And if we can stop folks from harassing fat people…can we do something to fix…say…harassment in general? Bigotry? Sexism? And so on? But wait…there’s more!

“Antipathy toward obese people is a powerful and pervasive prejudice in many contemporary populations. Our results reveal, for the first time, that this prejudice may be rooted in multiple, independent mechanisms. They provide the first evidence that obesity serves as a cue for pathogen infection,” say the University of British Columbia researchers…The results show that people who agreed with comments such as “it really bothers me when people sneeze without covering their mouths” were more likely to agree with statement such as “if I were an employer looking to hire, I might avoid hiring a fat person”. The greater the fear of disease, the stronger the negative feeling about obesity.

Ah, so that’s what they were getting to. Being fat is a disease–an avoidable disease, mind you–and so it’s not the aggressors’ fault they are acting like douchebags. It’s the fat person’s fault for being so damn fat and infectious. So, in theory, if we fat folks want to be left alone, we should, y’know, lose weight. Because, you see, the social issues we face have NOTHING to do with other folks’ douchebaggery, it’s all our fault for being FAT! Again, are you FUCKING kidding me?! Of course not. Because if I sneeze on you, you’re gonna catch my cold AND my fat.

*exasperated eye roll*
But don’t worry. I’m not the only one crying foul at this information.

But Clarissa Dickson Wright, the surviving half of the Two Fat Ladies cookery duo, said the research merely served to cover up the general prejudice of narrow-minded people. “In the 1960s there were a lot of bigoted people who were anti-black, anti-Jewish, anti-everything but when they couldn’t get away with that any more they turned into food-Nazis instead and began attacking people who were fat,” she said. “I suspect that this is what really drives people to be negative about fat people rather than an unconscious reaction.

See! I wasn’t the only person who thought this whole thing was bullshit.

However, I do have a suggestion for better spending research money. How about we research how to get rid of the stigmas attached to fat so that this world can be a better one for everyone? That works best for me.


5 Responses to “So THAT’S Why Fat People are Ridiculed!”

  1. 1 sweetmachine
    October 27, 2007 at 7:13 am

    Jesus Christ, that’s the stupidest theory I’ve ever heard. Fat people remind us of germs? I bet a dollar that the people claiming that also think that fat people should just, you know, eat less, because after all fat is a moral failure and not the result of, oh, say, an infection.

  2. 2 riddlebiddle
    October 29, 2007 at 12:39 am

    Oh, God, there are so many problems with their theories I don’t even know where to begin. The most blatant problem is that they are AGAIN suggesting that there is some biological (evolutionary) advantage to detesting fat. Which purposts, then, that such a trait is biologically universal. And that – basically – just ignores the scores of non-Western societies where fatness is still coveted. For some light reading, consider Rebecca Popenoe’s Feeding Desire. Great book!

    Oh, and secondly, under that VERY rigorous research design, do you thinks it’s possible that the people who were bothered by both fatness and the inexcusable non-covering of one’s sneezes are…hmm, here’s a thought… just a little hung up on societal norms in general? Groundbreaking notion.

  3. 3 riddlebiddle
    October 29, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Ugh. I need a better editor. That’s “purports.” Actually, scratch that and make it “posits”. We seem to love “positing” in academia.

  4. 4 nuckingfutz
    October 29, 2007 at 10:23 am

    EXACTLY, riddlebiddle!!!

    How the hell would they explain the fact that in certain countries – India, for example – fat people are actually REVERED? It’s the SKINNY people in those countries that are looked upon with disdain, because being fat is synonymous (for them) with being successful and prosperous. If you’re skinny, then you must be poor Indian trash (to paraphrase an American-ism).

    But if humans are “all the same,” then how the hell would these “scientists” (*coughBULLSHITcough*) explain THAT????

    It seriously sounds to me like they’re trying to fabricate excuses for all the fat-haters and general bullies out there. “Oh, it’s okay to bully fat people… you can’t help it… they’re diseased.” I repeat: BULLSHIT!!

  5. October 29, 2007 at 10:41 am

    I think what tickled me so much about this supposed “theory” is that researchers say there is a biological reason for people’s reaction towards fat people, but no one wants to look at biology when it comes to WHY folks are fat to begin with. Because, y’know, we’re fat because we’re undiciplined.

    *eye roll*

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